How much has the lockdown hit business in your part of East Anglia?
- Credit: Archant
Nearly half the economic activity in south Suffolk has been wiped out by the lockdown, according to new figures showing the impact of the measures to beat coronavirus.
Economic activity in the Babergh district has fallen by 45%, significantly more than the national average of 36%. The story in Mid Suffolk was similar, with a 42% fall. However in Ipswich, the drop has not been so great – although it is down 29%.
The figures were collected by the Centre for Progressive Policy, which said that nationally it showed a major split with council areas in the north of England suffering a much greater fall than those in the south.
Babergh, at 15th in the league table, has seen the highest fall in economic activity if any local authority in the south of England.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said he felt the figure in Mid Suffolk reflected the large number of small businesses involved in manufacturing.
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“I think there are a lot of people who have had to stop work because they cannot work within the social distancing rules as they currently stand,” he said.
“But they have the support of the government and will be able to be back up and running when things change, so the economy could bounce back reasonably well.”
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Meanwhile Dr Poulter, has written to the Chancellor asking the Treasury to do more to help small businesses and those who may be slipping through the cracks of Government support.
He has been contacted by a number of businesses, many of whom welcome the measures already put in place by the Treasury, but undoubtedly there are still some who are left behind or falling through the net. The likelihood of social distancing measures lasting for many months, or even a year, is likely to put considerable strain on pubs, restaurants and the hospitality industry.
Dr Poulter has been working closely with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and engaging with key business sectors and representatives across his constituency.
He said: “It’s clear to me that they broadly welcome the measures introduced by the Chancellor to support our economy, but in some cases, there still remains a lengthy gap for when businesses apply for the support and when they physically receive it.”
Economic activity in East Suffolk has fallen by 40% and in West Suffolk by 36%. Colchester has seen a 34% drop in economic activity and in Tendring it has fallen by 36%.
Ipswich’s relatively small fall could be linked to the number of public sector jobs in the town, with the hospital and government departments based there as well as local authorities.
The town’s MP, Tom Hunt, said: “It is a glimmer of light that the town has not apparently been as badly hit as some other places, but it is only a very small glimmer. It is clear that the lockdown is affecting businesses and I hope that we are able to find a way of partially easing some aspects.
“Clearly we will have to ensure that whatever we do does not risk allowing a new peak of coronavirus. I know the prime minister will be looking a ways to rebuild the economy now he is back at work – but the safety of the public and especially older people will have to be top of the agenda for the whole government.”